Tag Archives: humanity

Human exceptionalism with a human face

This is me on human exceptionalism for Areo, a rather good up and coming digital magazine.

I point out the irony of using super-advanced scientific tools to do studies on crows to prove that they can use tools and that therefore humans are no different to animals. This mirrors the irony of the Anthropocene: it’s supposed to get us to recognise our humility yet it ratifies the fact that our effect on the planet — if nothing else — is exceptional.

I reckon we should accept that as a matter of historical fact we are currently an exceptional species (we used to be less exceptional when closer relatives like Neanderthals were around) and use this to spur environmental action.

Typo: they changed hominin to hominid — what can you do?

Occupy humanity

Well, like anyone I started out totally hopeless, a complete vernix-covered liability. Ageing from zero, my beliefs and opinions have appeared and have more or less been in a complete state of flux. I now occupy a position I think is pretty respectable (haven’t I always?). Roughly I’ve moved from nothing to right to centre to left to centre again. Within and between these regions I’ve left a thick, meandering trail from belief to belief, position to position.

Unless you’re crazy or a genius, then it’s true that those things you once believed are believed by others still, at this very moment in time. Like that your country is the best in the world. Like that pop music is good. Like that xrays, radio waves and the light we see are actually all the same thing. All the positions you’ve ever held still exist, held by some cross-section of thousands of people you’ve never met. Strangers you never meet will Continue reading Occupy humanity